Winter had come early – the leaves were off of the trees and there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. He was on his way home after going to town to pick up supplies. The thought of sitting in front of the fireplace while eating dinner with his wife helped keep him warm. Just as he was about to pass the storage shed, he heard a loud bang – as if something had been knocked over in the building. He pulled on the reins and brought the wagon to a stop. He sat quietly and listened – he was sure he heard rustling.

He grabbed his rifle, climbed down from the wagon, and slowly moved to the shed. As he approached the door, he could see that the peg that served as a lock had been removed and the door was slightly ajar. He froze in place and listened – the stirring sounds had stopped. Using the barrel of his rifle, he opened the door and quickly stood in the doorway with the rifle at the ready.

To his surprise, sitting in the middle of the floor, wrapped in an old horse blanket was a boy. He couldn’t be more than five years old. Tears were running down his cheeks and fear was written on his face. Ben lowered his rifle and knelt down.

“It’s okay. But what are you doing here?”

After hearing Tim’s story, he picked him up and carried him to the wagon. He told him to slide into the seat as he also got up. He put the rifle away, took the reins, and headed for home. Once there, he had the boy stay in the seat while he put the horse in the barn. Then he motioned for Tim to crawl back into his arms so he could carry him inside.

Susan’s face registered her surprise as Ben walked past her and placed Tim in front of the fire. “Stay here while I talk to my wife.”

Ben walked over to Susan and hugged her – much tighter than normal. As he loosens his grip, he could see the questions in her expression.

“His name is Tim. Two or three days ago, he woke up to find both his parents dead – they had been sick for a while. He has been looking for help. He saw our shed and was so cold, he just wanted to get warm. He has no one. I brought him here so we could feed him and let him get some sleep. I figured I would take him to the sheriff tomorrow.”

Susan walks away and then turned to look Ben in the eyes. Her eyes were starting to fill with tears.

“Let’s see if we can keep him. You know the doctor said we would never have children. We both have been praying for God to give us a child. Well…”

Ben put his finger to her lips. “I was hoping you felt like me.” He put his arm around her as they looked at the boy sleeping in front of the fireplace. Susan looked up at Ben and smiled.

“I am going to nickname him ‘Answer’ – for he is the answer to our prayers.”


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Len Bernat
LEN is a leader groomed by 20 years of molding and shaping by some of the finest leaders in the United States Marine Corps. Their guidance helped Len realize his full potential as he moved from an enlisted Marine to becoming an Officer of Marines. Len became known for being the leader who could turn any lackluster organization into a strong, functional unit. Upon his retirement, Len worked in several positions before finally starting a second career in governmental procurement. His experience and leadership skills enabled him to be recognized as the 2011 Governmental Procurement Officer of the Year for the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia and opened doors for him to teach at many of the association’s conferences. Len was also called to the ministry and was ordained at Ashford Memorial Methodist Church in November of 1999. Today, Len is the Pastor of Maxeys Christian Church in Maxeys, Georgia. Len has been married to his wife, Hazel, for 36 years and they have three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Grab your copy of Len's new Book – Leadership Matters | Advice From A Career USMC Officer. Using his life experiences as examples, Len takes the eleven principles of leadership and the fourteen traits every leader should possess—which he learned during twenty years in the Marine Corps—and teaches the reader how he was molded and shaped by some of the best leaders the Corps had to offer.
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Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler

This a great story Len. While reading we hope for a happy ending and you give us one. Strong Ink Storytelling for my friend Len Bernat

Johnny Johnston

So much sadness yet joy in my heart. Answers come in many forms but grace only comes through His love in providing for those whose hearts are in need. Len you are a master. Johnny